Ontario Sport Awards

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Ontario Sport Awards Winners

Female Para Athlete of Year Aly Van-Wyk Smart

Ontario Provincial Athlete of the Year - Female, Para

Aly Van Wyk-Smart

Hometown: Toronto

Aly is a four-time record breaking swimmer in the S3 para swimming classification. In April 2017, she set a new Canadian record in the 100m freestyle at the Para Swimming Championships in Windsor. Among her other accomplishments, Aly has been named to the Ontario Swimming Academy Para program and has been awarded the honour of Variety Village’s Junior Athlete of the Year.

Currently Aly continues to train with her team at Variety Village to achieve her goal of competing at the 2024 Paralympic Games in Paris.

Male Para Athlete of the Year Eric Furtado-Rodrigues

Ontario Provincial Athlete of the Year - Male, Para

Eric Furtado-Rodrigues

Hometown: Mississauga
Quest for Gold recipient

After an accident in 2009, Eric became a quadriplegic. He learned about wheelchair rugby by watching the movie Murderball while in rehab. During his athletic career, Eric has faced as many as three surgeries within one year. Nevertheless, he remained committed to his training and attended practice as often as he was permitted. In 2017, Eric won silver for Team Ontario at the 2017 Canadian Wheelchair Rugby Nationals.

He was named to the national team in March 2017 and is currently training for the 2018 World Championships in Sydney Australia.

Female Athlete of the Year Katie Vincent

Ontario Provincial Athlete of the Year - Female

Katie Vincent

Hometown: Mississauga
Quest for Gold recipient
Team Ontario Alumna (Sherbrooke 2013)

Katie has emerged as one of the world’s top athletes in Sprint Canoe Kayak and as a role model for women and girls in sport. Her achievements from 2017 include a five medal haul on the World Cup tour, a gold medal at the U23 World Championships in the C1 200m category and, another gold medal at the Senior World Championships in the C2 500m category. Katie has taken the podium in over 16 international competitions throughout her career and was named Mississauga’s 2013 Female Athlete of the Year. When the Women’s Canoe disciplines make their debut at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Katie will be an athlete to watch on the international stage.

Male Athlete of the Year Lionel Sanders

Ontario Provincial Athlete of the Year -

Lionel Sanders

Hometown: Windsor

From a high school and university cross country running champion to battling drug addiction, Lionel’s story is a testament to the transformative power of sport. Along his journey, Lionel decided to change his life, fight his addictions, and return to training. Lionel set an initial goal to complete an Ironman race. Today, he is one of Canada’s most successful triathletes. In 2017, he placed 1st at the World Elite Long Course Championship, 2nd overall in the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii and 1st at the South American Ironman Championships. Lionel has recognized the importance of mental health as part of sport training and has shared his story with many schools and organizations to inspire and encourage children to achieve their life goals.

System Design Excellence Durham Elementary Athletic Association (DEAA)

System Design Excellence

Durham Elementary Athletic Association (DEAA)

The Durham Elementary Athletic Association develops student athletes through interschool sports, high quality coaching and meaningful competition for all skills levels. Their program is used in over 100 schools in the Durham region and provides opportunities for over 10 sports. DEAA runs regular coaching clinics for their volunteers to ensure that they have the right tools and supports to develop student athletes.

One of DEAA’s core principles is to place the importance of skill development over winning so that students can experience the positive impact of sport throughout their lives.

Leadership in Inclusive Design Jane Larkworthy

Leadership in Inclusive Participation

Jane Larkworthy

Jane has been a champion and volunteer for the Special Olympics Stratford and Area communities for over 16 years. When the Stratford & Area chapter was at risk of shutting down, Jane stepped in as the volunteer community coordinator and assumed responsibility for the program’s operation to ensure they could continue. She also improved the program by adding new sport programming including golf and curling.

Jane’s leadership and devotion has improved sport opportunities in the Stratford area and enriched the lives of athletes living with an intellectual disability.